Monday, June 21, 2010

Unmindful of his welfare

"Unmindful of his welfare, I thought only of recapturing the spirit of other days." from Bill's Story, Alcoholics Anonymous

I don't know what made me think of this quote today but for some reason I was thinking of how often I have either been unmindful of the welfare of others or of my own welfare.  I used to not be very mindful of my own welfare.  I would often give up things that I wanted to do because C. didn't want to do them.  I put myself in bad situations because C. wanted to drink, and I thought that I needed to take care of her.  I never thought about what I wanted to do.

And eventually the stress got to me.  Even before we were married, there were times when I felt that I couldn't take anymore unfullfilled promises, bad behavior, and unreliability.  And later, after being married, I realized that I was still not mindful of my welfare.  But the balance had begun to shift where I was not being mindful of her welfare either. 

I had slipped over to trying to control through anger, self-pity, and stony silences.  I was not only damaging her but was eroding away our relationship.  It is incredible the lengths that I went to because of alcoholism.  And no where did I have in mind what was good for me or others. 

It wasn't until getting into recovery that I began to not only think about my welfare but the welfare of those around me.  The harm that is done to others because of my insecurities and fears can be as great as the harm done to me by the alcoholic.  I am grateful for a chance to be mindful of a lot of things today, including God's will for me. 


  1. It is such a sneaky deal, slipping into a role of not taking care of oneself, just too busy minding someone else's business and making sure other people do what they should be doing. Tough job. Learning to let go of that and understanding what is meant by taking care of oneself is so much freedom. Freedom to let go of stress and freedom to work on being healthy.

  2. its actually quite the tight rope between looking out for one self and for others...

  3. A phrase comes to mind learned in psychodynamic counselling sessions "denying others' reality". This is when you interpret life so narrowly through your own viewpoint you are dismissing others' feelings, motives, intents and experience: denying their reality. Same sort of thing, really as what you were saying. (I think.) But being an unrecovered addict, what do I know!!!!!!!

  4. Have you ever read any codependency lit ? It is part of my daily reading as you know and it is constantly reminding me of this very topic,Syd.
    Even after fifteen years.
    There is a wonderful fine line between our welfare and that of others..and I've come to take great relief in that as I learn to take care of myself.And I have read your acceptance with those boundaries too.

  5. you've sketched a path i used to follow myself...

  6. I love this post. My sponsor is fond of saying that our alcoholics may be going crazy, but we're running full speed after them. Which one is crazier?

    Your post reminds me of the slogan "Let it Begin with Me." To me that slogan means that I don't wait for the other person to take the first step in mending our relationship. But it also means taking responsibility for making sure my needs get met.

    I've had favorite slogans at different points in my recovery. This is the one that speaks to me the loudest these days.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. It is so hard to take care of ourselves when alcohol is in charge. Thank God for AA and Al-Anon and the 12 Steps, which give us the tools to put our welfare and the welfare of others first. Praise God for removing the power of alcohol from our lives! Peace to you, Syd. Thanks for the great posts!

  8. This defines what I myself had been through - most likley every al anon or should be al anon person who loves an alcoholic.

    I like to think better late that I got it, than never.


  9. Were you a believer before you got into the program?

  10. Very insightful blog entry and I think you pinned it down when you mentioned BALANCE. That seems to be the key to most things and often so hard to accomplish...but easier as each sober year goes by.
    Thanks, Syd.

  11. This reminds me of the damage done by enabling, in not just the substance abuse situation, but others as well.

    I have a few friends and relatives in bad marriages. The women I know handle everything because their husbands won't take care of themselves, the house, etc.

    The enabling these women I know do not only hurts them but their spouses.

    My mother, my cousin, and my best friend have all been in this situation. Some still are.

    Good post, Syd

  12. You've so clearly defined my recent behavior...using anger as a tool to change another's behaviors, attitudes, etc. All it does is push acceptance right out the window. Luckily it's a ground floor window and all I have to do is reach out and embrace it...over and over and over again and again. Progress is after all, progress. Thanks for reminding me of the exact thing I heard at my alanon meeting yesterday. And all I've done is ask HP for guidance. Wow!

  13. I was talking to a friend after the meeting last night, and we commented on how as time goes on we start to recognize our behaviors. I think not being mindful of others, although not completely cured, has become obvious, and I know when I'm doing it. Awareness. Really good post.

  14. I still often find when searching through my motives for doing something that I often gain
    I guess its taking some time for the selfishness to be removed.
    Sometimes I still feel IAM the big I am


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